Emergency Route Update!

by Donna Cohen

PBOT Freight Committee meeting discussion of feasibility study of Columbia Blvd bridges at the “cut.”

Bridges over railroad cut in North Portland

The PBOT Freight Committee meeting went well on Thursday, January 4. Zef Wagner, PBOT Senior Planner, reviewed a feasibility study of Columbia Blvd. bridge locations including the three bridges at Columbia Way and the Columbia Blvd. railroad “cut” that need replacement. Until you see it in person, it’s hard to understand that there are multiple bridges in that one location.

So, the Columbia Blvd. bridge is on the radar as a target to be fixed. Now we have to find the money! Because of the extensive changes needed this will not be cheap. I assured the committee that the community stands ready to support grant proposals for funding by providing public comments attesting to our concerns, at the appropriate time.

Zef also briefly discussed the need for a new bridge at Lombard over the “cut”. This is a more complicated situation because there are many jurisdictions involved, including BNSF railroad. But, the community successfully got it in last year’s 2040 Freight Plan that PBOT will begin to collaborate with the multiple jurisdictions, working toward a solution.

Map of North Portland earthquake liquefaction zone hazards
North Portland Liquefaction Zone hazard map

I requested that the community see a multi-jurisdictional meeting set up in 2024 to begin moving toward the solution. We will need to keep tabs on this and if we don’t see movement, be prepared to make our voices heard! Remember that, depending on weather conditions, it is possible the Columbia Blvd. bridge could be in the liquefaction zone! So, we need to get the Lombard bridge fixed, too! Plus, both are designated emergency routes.